Ma7 21, 2021
Just in the last few days, 3 people have contacted me about cardigans from Talbots! These kinds of “confluences of interest” happen often – I find them fascinating…
But the cardigans are pretty amazing too! Some lovely prints…
excuse the image quality – I had to do some scary digital magic to get this together!
I love this sweater – some of us were debating the merits of using bright colors for accents, and this cardigan sets us up for a summer of black, white and brights:
Let’s assume for working purposes that our heroine already has her black and white Common Wardrobe all sorted out…
Now, she decides that she’s going to base her accent colors for this year on her new cardigan!
First up, she finds a range of tops in bright royal blue; the wrap top and the ruffle-bottom top will both look good with her cardigan, and the blue silk tunic shirt just plain looks good…
Yellow is sort of tough to find, but our heroine scares up a GREAT bodysuit with a draped neckline, and a short jumpsuit (I really do NOT like the word romper, but there we are…) in her yellow.
I have a hunch our heroine might be younger than I am…
And finally, she grabs 3 hot pink tops. They are similar, but with enough differences to be fun…
Now, when she hangs up her Garde-Robe du Mois, it’s got some real pop to it!
It’s pretty self-evident how she could wear these pieces – I suspect that the only really bad combination possible here might be her striped tee shirt with her birdcage print cardigan – and even that’s not hideous…
I love the idea of starting with a neutral Common Wardrobe and then choosing some fun accents; one could rotate accent colors in and out as the mood strikes!
How many accent pieces would you include in a 21-piece wardrobe? For me, 5 would be my maximum – what is your preference?
p.s. Just last year, we revisited one of everyone’s favorite heroines, as she assembled the world’s dressiest “work from home” wardrobe!
Such fun! I think the striped T and the patterned cardi will look great together.
I agree with you
Beth T says
This is great and gives a lot of options. Though I would add in another accent cardigan but the shirt might do the job and also a patterned top or two that includes some or all of the accents and neutrals. I’d love to see some accessories with this.
Looking at the cardigans on the website, my favourites were the watercolour, floral and paisley cardigans. Some of them seemed to have a matching top underneath as a twinset. Twin-sets always seem a bit of a colour overload to me and certainly too much with patterns.
I have a few patterned cardigans and jumpers which I have used as the basis for a holiday wardrobe. One of my favourites for summer is a white cardigan with purple, blue and turquoise flowers and butterflies – my favourite colour combination. This gives me three accents with mid to dark blue and grey neutrals. Along with plain tops and bottoms, I add patterned tops, skirts and dresses in purple and turquoise that follow the floral/butterfly theme plus plain accent cardigans and a jacket. I could go all summer with this.
Love those camp shirts from J. Crew! Maybe I’ll have to add one of those to my wardrobe for the summer. I love the way it looks with the skirt.
I agree that using your Common Wardrobe as a core starting point ,with the addition of accent colors , is a great idea ! I would like to see some more prints, as a Summer wardrobe is one in which I don’t want to be bothered with a scarf or even a necklace. I am a three piece dresser , so when it comes to accents , I still like a form of twin sets . But my idea of a twin set would be more like wearing a knit top that has embellishments or construction detail, topped with a woven long sleeved shirt that the sleeves can be rolled up and held with a buttoned tab, in the same color as the top, or topping a printed top with a colored shirt that picks up one of the colors in the print . I like to use a minimum of two and preferably three accent colors in a module . I only buy twin sets that are lighter than or equal in value to my selected bottoms values . My bottoms are kept darker than my tops , even if that means the bottoms are of a medium value .
I am bottom heavy and so I stick to solids on my bottom section, but I long to use some pattern there, so I guess that my best course of action to accomplish that is to buy a Summer printed dress .
I enjoyed seeing the various printed tops in your look back !
And your Clusters format in the look back always knocks my socks off ! I adore the efficiency of that ! You have provided so many wonderful ways of thinking about how to pull together travel wardrobes and more comprehensive total wardrobes ! Please continue the examples of this method, I never tire of it !
Amanda Hudson says
This reminds me of a vacation to Italy several years back. I had a striped cardigan. I packed black pants, black shorts, a black skirt, and a black dress. Then I packed a tee shirt to match each stripe. We were traveling on trains and in cars so I had to haul my own gear. One couple had to always get a separate taxi for their giant suitcases. Half way thru the trip We were asked how we could possibly have so many different clothes in our small bags. I was so proud!! FYI I packed for my hubby LOL
Sally in St Paul says
The is one of my favorite iterations of the Common Wardrobe. And I do like how much accent color is in this capsule! But I’m not a fan of this goldenrod yellow with the cardigan; I think the “citrus yellow” top options at Chico’s would be better. I would also switch out the yellow romper for something else; a lighter yellow dress or one of the bright pink dresses at Chico’s (possibly the gauze maxi). Three bright pink tops seems like too much duplication in a small capsule, so I would switch one out for a print top that contains multiple of the wardrobe colors. The blue silk long-sleeved blouse also doesn’t fit well in this capsule for me; it seems dressier than everything else. A long-sleeved shirt in linen or cotton that you could roll the sleeves up on would be great. If the heroine is planning to wear colorful print accessories, that’s one thing, but for a truly warm climate in which scarves etc. are too hot, more print tops would be my preference.
Oh, this is so very appealing and versatile! And my brain is finally understanding your wonderfully efficient and artistic methods of wardrobe curation. I am loving this.
I do however, have a strong sense that 3 similar pink tops is too much. I would keep just one pink top (the silk one appeals to me most). Then, I would adore a pink twin-set: a cardigan or even a pink linen (or patterned seersucker) overshirt which could “twin”with the pink top. Third, I would include another pink bottom – a dress would be wonderful, but a pair of shorts would be super useful, or a pink skirt that would look like a dress with a pink top.
Sending you chilly (but sunny) love from Tasmania! :-)
p.s. my autumn wardrobe is now mostly black, denim blue, and white/cream with accents of fuschia pink and cobalt blue. Accents of red and olive green are being phased out, so it’s similar to this one, with less white. I am whittling down a lot. I find that I enjoy my colours more now that my palette is more focussed. Who knew that limits like this would increase the colour-fun!?
Book Goddess says
I love this approach! Black and white with brights is such a wonderful and flexible way to create a wardrobe. Black and white bring out the best in other colors and using them for your neutrals means you can easily introduce a new accent color as desired without having to redo your whole wardrobe.
Diane Smith says
Janice, it was great to see this nod to Talbots, my favorite store. I have 4 of their Charming Cardigans and I love them. Also, your theme this week fed into mine….I have a navy core with Breton Blue, Brite Pink, and Teal as my accents, with a bit of ecru. (I’m a summer, so I don’t look swell in brite white.) For the winter, I add black to my base of navy and Breton Blue becomes a deep blue, Brite Pink moves into burgundies, and the Teal just goes deeper.
Love your stories and outfit ideas. You certainly have a very keen eye for color.
NATALIE K says
Ladies, I’m a cardigan lover! Seater sets, yes!! hile a cardigan ith pattern is easy to pull from the colors and make a capsule. You need to be careful and not do this too often. Great hen traveling. Great hen you find a patterned cardigan on clearance and you love it! I kno I don’t ant to be knon as the old lady that ears patterned cardigans. Not so fashionable, elegant or very chic!!
I’m with you, Natalie, loving sweater sets and all things cardigan. I’m not so worried because I AM old, lol! But I take your point; my mother was the original patterned cardigan queen. (also, it looks like your W key is silent) – nancyo
I love a good patterned cardigan!! In fact I have a similar bird print one with a black and white + accents (different accents though) and it’s fun to wear in summer. This is a versatile and cohesive wardrobe, which would go very far for so few garments. My only observation is that the yellow in the cardigan is described as “lemon chiffon” by Talbots, and I think accent garment with a more greenish/lemony yellow would coordinate better. But I know yellow is difficult to find! – nancyo
I have a question about how to handle a new item in my wardrobe. I made an impulse purchase at Costco: a simple plain black skirt. After wearing it a week I loved it so much- it was comfortable, never looked wrinkled- when I saw they still had them at Costco I bought a second black one! and one that is a green/teal color. White and black, every shade of turquoise and pinks are my summer colors so just about all my tops go. BUT. I feel like my tops are the wrong length. Since I had been previously wearing a lot of leggings or other slim fitting capris my tops are longer, mostly tunic length T shirt styles. Am I being too critical about this? Should I hem a few of them? Or should I just accept this as an excuse to buy some new tops?
I suspect that your tops are fine, and you’re just getting used to a new proportion in your outfit. But for warm weather, buying a couple of new tops is seldom a bad idea!
Sally in St Paul says
As a fellow apple shape who runs into this same issue, I have found methods online for half-tucking, side-tucking, tying, and knotting tops to make them temporarily shorter (and some of them give an asymmetric hem, which can be such a nice look). I think Jodie’s Touch of Style has a video or post about this, but I’m having trouble finding it right now. (Will link to it if I find it.)
However, these demonstrations don’t always take body size/shape into account so it can take some searching (and a lot of experimentation!) to find what will work for you and with the specific garments you want to put together. These solutions can also be a bit fiddly. Depending on your budget/space availability, purchasing a few tops that go very well with your skirt off the rack may be the easiest way forward. (Or hemming, ruching, running elastic through the hem, or using another permanent shortening method, if you have longer tops that you can dedicate to skirts.)
For me, this is one of the big struggles with and downsides of a small capsule wardrobe: we kind of pretend that you can wear that one black T-shirt with all the other garments in your capsule based on color, but ignore how the different silhouettes, lengths, and styles of garments get in the way of that. I’m guilty of this too in the flat lays that I put together, that basically side step this particular styling issue. And you’ve hit on one of the most common examples of that for me…a top that works with leggings/slim pants is often going to be too long (and possibly too voluminous) to look right with a skirt for many of us…or is going to require special styling to make it temporarily shorter and to rein in the extra volume. Most of the minimalist capsule wardrobe blogs I see are written by young, thin women who, if they acknowledge the issue at all, deal with it by just tucking in their tops. Works great for some but is not a practical or flattering style choice for many of us. I was impressed that Anuskha Rees’ capsule wardrobe posts specifically discussed choosing preferred silhouettes (such as voluminous tunic + leggings/skinnies or shorter top + skort) and making sure you have the garments you specifically need to create them. It sounds like you may be adding a new silhouette/uniform to your mix, so it makes sense that you might need new tops to make it work.
Of course, some people just flat don’t pay very much attention to how lengths and silhouettes work together when they build their capsule, which is totally fine. But I do think that taking this issue into consideration would be a big help for those heroines who do.
I would LOVE to see more attention paid to these styling issues on capsule wardrobe blogs, like “How do I make my t-shirt work with bottoms of different lengths, volumes, and silhouettes?” (where is it not just assumed that the reader has a thin hourglass figure). When is it possible to have the One Black T-shirt Who Rules Them All, and when do you need to have multiple tops to cover all your outfit possibilities? I suspect that not knowing how to leverage specific pieces into a variety of desirably-proportioned outfits through styling is a contributor to the all-too-common problem of having too many clothes and discordant-seeming wardrobes.
Beth T says
Good ideas Sally. Perhaps fashion bloggers and retail promoters who tell us all about the latest trends and fashions that we should (or shouldn’t) be wearing, could onsider which body shapes and heights would look best wearing the clothes. At least this might reduce mass ordering and mass returns.
I agree with you, Liz, and find the proportions to be very different when I am wearing skirts and when I wear slacks. And different again when I wear leggings. Because I find that longer tops, particularly tunics, do not have the correct proportions for skirts, I have a whole set of tops – including sweaters – that are really only for wearing with skirts. For that reason, I rarely pack skirts when I travel, because I lose the versatility of a capsule wardrobe. – nancyo
Oops that should have been “skort” not skirt”
And tucking a top in is too hot and doesn’t look good on my apple middle.
Beth T says
Working out your best proportions for clothing is tricky.
A lot depends on whether you have a long or short waist – the amount of space between your natural waist and your bust line when you put the palms of your hands one on top of the other. You are long waisted if both hands sit comfortably and short waisted if they don’t.
The other trick is to even up the proportional ratio of the length of the torso to the length of your legs.
I’m short-waisted with a normal length torso but short arms and legs. I also have narrow shoulders and wide hips. At 5 foot tall, I’m technically petite but not all petite clothes fit properly.
My tricks to even up proportions by wearing:
Tops and short jackets that sit above my hips;
Wide or loose leg trousers that flow from the hip.
High waisted jeans that sit on my natural waist rather than below it.
Long dresses and skirts that hide my short legs.
I look better with tops over my trousers to hide the line of my waist. Wrap-style, blouson blouses or a peplum work well.
Fitted jackets rather than box cut make the most of my curves.
Prefer 3/4 length sleeves which make my arms appear longer.
I also keep pattern and details on my top half.
Obviously, if you have a short body and long legs the opposites are true.
There are several books and websites on body styles.
Linda P says
Hi Janice and Everyone! I am all about black / white with switching accent pieces in or out. I –purposely–limited my travel wardrobe for 5 days in San Francisco to the Whatever’s Clean 13 method. I had olive pants and jeans, black pants, a black and a white short-sleeved turtleneck xweater, a cap sleeved rust turtleneck top, an olive short-sleeved sweater, a long sleeved rose top, a long sleeved black top, a magenta (!) V-neck cardigan, a black blazer, a white turtleneck, and a funky print short sleeved top. This allowed for changes in tops according to changes in temperature and activity.
It has (still) been a process switching over my clothes. We have had gardening and mulching and planting weather the last few days so it’s best to address those tasks and actually have the patio all fixed up for Memorial Day.
Beth T says
I’m thinking about my wardrobe for a 4-5 day trip to see my son for my birthday in a few weeks. The weather continues to be fickle and unseasonably cool in the UK but, surely, we should have some warm, dry weather in mid-June? This will be the first time that we have been away since autumn 2019! I feel very out of practise and I’m not sure which clothes will still fit.
Pam Figueroa says
What’s the matter with looking @ Talbot’s for your “go-under”? And I put a stripe under an abstract floral with the same colors. I saw it in the window & the girls put it together for me. The colors were peach & black & the stripes were wider. I wore them with black pants. I got lots of compliments!